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Hearing about Darwin for the first time


My Christian background
Francis Crick Scientist
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Well, I was brought up in a… in a… a non-conformist Christian family. They were what called Congregationalists. And my parents were not specially religious, but they went to church. We didn’t have family prayers, for example. My father at one period was the church secretary, means he paid the church bills and things of that sort. And so I went… was taken along to church. And somewhere… at which age I don’t quite know, but the age… the order of around 12 or thereabouts, as it were, I lost my faith. I didn’t believe in all this stuff. Whether it was reading that [The] Children’s Encyclopaedia, I don’t know. But, of course, when I went away to boarding school, I still had to go to chapel, I think… I think every morning, I’m not sure, and certainly twice… at least twice on Sundays. So, I would, sort of, sit through it. But… so, I was brought up… up with… with a basic knowledge of Christian ideas, rather patchy in some ways, I would say, but surprising some of my friends from time to time by quotations from bits of The Bible. We had them read… I had so much read out to me at one time or another in lessons and at school.

The late Francis Crick, one of Britain's most famous scientists, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. He is best known for his discovery, jointly with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, of the double helix structure of DNA, though he also made important contributions in understanding the genetic code and was exploring the basis of consciousness in the years leading up to his death in 2004.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Christianity, Congregationalism, Christian, Congregationalist, The Children’s Encyclopaedia, The Bible

Duration: 1 minute, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 24 January 2008